UU congregations remain open—virtually
Despite demands from the White House that governors allow houses of worship to reopen, most UU congregations will remain closed until deliberate, science-based reopening procedures can be planned.
The Rev. Luke Stevens-Royer of First UU Church of Rochester, Minnesota, said, “I think what we provide in terms of spiritual well-being and emotional support to folks is essential and we can do it without opening our doors and putting vulnerable people at risk. I actually think it's a moral and ethical imperative for us to keep our communities healthy and our members safe." (Fox 47, May 22)
The Rev. Todd Eklof of the UU Church of Spokane, Washington, pointed out the ways in which large, in-person congregational gatherings are problematic. “[Churches] are a breeding ground for the passage of illnesses because not only are people in a closed setting and they’re sitting close to each other, but they’re very friendly, and they like to shake hands, and they like to hug, and they like to speak face to face,” Eklof said. (Spokesman-Review, May 22)
The Rev. Rebecca Bryan, minister of First Religious Society Unitarian Universalist in Newburyport, Massachusetts, referenced the UUA’s non-binding recommendation that churches prepare to remain closed until May 2021. Her congregation, she said, will remain closed until the end of the church year in June 2020, but will continue virtual services over the summer. “That will give us time to really look at the needs of our congregation and our ability to make those changes,” she said. (The Daily News, May 20)
The Rev. Frederick Lipp, a retired UU minister who writes books for children, has released a new book, Lady of the Lobster. The book retells a story Lipp heard in the 1940s from his father, as they sat on the rocks in Rockport, Massachusetts, enjoying their dinner—twelve lobster bodies for $1. (The Lincoln County News, May 25)